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WP Smush – Increase Image Loading Speed
WP Smush is a free image compression and optimization plugin for WordPress sites. It can dramatically reduce the file size of your images to help your pages load faster without sacrificing image quality. With faster load times, your site will perform better in search engine results pages (SERPs). It’s one of the most popular optimization plugins with over 5 million active installs.
As images make up a significant portion of most websites’ page sizes these days, optimizing them is crucial for site speed. Large, unoptimized images slow down your site and frustrate visitors. WP Smush can painlessly reduce image sizes with almost no noticeable loss in quality. It’s an essential plugin for every WordPress site.
How WP Smush Works ?
WP Smush works by losslessly compressing images using smart algorithms that remove excess data without affecting visual quality. It strips out invisible image metadata that browsers don’t need to display images properly. Things like geotags, editor history, and camera settings just bloat file sizes without contributing to visuals.
It also uses optimization techniques like converting large files to more efficient formats. For example, it can convert PNGs to lossy JPEGs at high quality settings with very minor impacts on actual image appearance.
Finally, it allows selective lossy compression, so you can choose to sacrifice some quality for huge file size reductions in images that don’t need to be perfect, like background graphics. The lossy optimization is optional though – you can stick to perfectly lossless compression if you prefer.
WP Smush Features
Here are some of the great features you’ll get with WP Smush:
- Bulk Smushing – Optimize all existing images in your media library with a single click. You can also set it to auto-smush new uploads.
- Super Smush – Further lossy compression for dramatic size reductions in non-critical images.
- Async Smushing – Smush images in the background without slowing down your site.
- Smush original uploads – By default WordPress creates resized thumbnail images. Smush compresses those thumbnails plus the original full size images.
- Lazy load – Only load images as they enter the viewport to accelerate load times.
- WebP conversion – Automatically convert images to the smaller, more modern WebP format supported on most browsers. Fallback to JPEGs for compatibility.
- Resize detection – Avoid double compression from theme image resizing.
- Translation ready – Fully compatible with WPML multi-language sites.
- CDN integration – Works seamlessly with major content delivery networks like StackPath and KeyCDN.
- Bulk restore – If you ever want to restore your original uncompressed images, you can do that in two clicks.
- Compatible with major page builders like Elementor.
- Free basic version plus affordable Pro version with advanced controls.
It also fully integrates with the WPMU DEV hosting service for sites hosted on their platform.
Why WP Smush is Different From Other Options?
There are a number of great image optimization plugins, but WP Smush stands out in a few ways:
- It’s completely free and fully functional without having to upgrade. Many free tools are deliberately crippled to push you towards paid plans. WP Smush gives you everything you truly need without payments.
- It has way more features than most free plugins. Things like lazy loading, WebP conversion, resize detection and CDN integration put it ahead of almost every competitor that doesn’t offer those in their free versions.
- It’s super easy to use. You don’t have to be tech-savvy to dramatically reduce your image sizes. Just install, bulk smush your existing library in a click, and let it automatically optimize all additions.
- It auto-smushes responsively. It’ll make sure resized thumbnail images don’t get double compressed while optimizing them all.
- It’s incredibly fast compared to rival tools. Smush can crunch through hundreds of large image files per minute without timing out or crashing.
The simplicity, efficiency and reliability of WP Smush explains why it is by far the most popular optimization plugin with millions of happy users.
Getting Started With WP Smush
Installing and setting up WP Smush is simple:
- In your WordPress dashboard, click “Add New” under Plugins.
- Search for “WP Smush”. The one by WPMU DEV is the item you need.
- Click “Install Now”. Then click “Activate”.
- Under Media, click “WP Smush”. Click “Smush Now” to compress all existing images.
- That’s it! WP Smush will now automatically optimize any new images you upload.
For more advanced usage, dive into the settings area. There you can enable lazy loading, WebP conversion, set maximum image quality levels and more. But those basic steps are all you really need to start ripping out huge image bloat.
WP Smush Downsides
WP Smush is incredibly useful with very few downsides for most sites. Here are a couple things to keep in mind:
- Very high traffic sites may want more control over compression levels for truly gigantic libraries. The Pro version adds things like directory-specific settings.
- If you use images for scientific, medical, legal or other fields requiring pixel-perfect accuracy, avoid lossy compression altogether.
Other than that though, it’s hard to find much fault with WP Smush’s balance of automatic ease-of-use and advanced functionality for demanding users. Just using the free version often saves multiple megabytes per image across a full site without any quality loss – what’s not to love?
WP Smush Pro
WP Smush offers a premium paid version called WP Smush Pro that unlocks additional features:
- Super Smush double compression – Applies extra lossy reduction to less important images for maximum savings.
- Smush original images – Also apply compression to full size original uploads for double savings.
- Bulk smush 500 images at once – Faster processing for giant libraries.
- Priority support – Get your questions answered faster with priority email assistance.
- Smush backup integration – Automatically smush copies created by backup plugins also.
- Directory specific settings – Fine tune optimization on a folder level.
- Quick setup wizard – Get guided help setting up optimal configurations.
- Scheduled compression – Automatically re-smush images on a regular basis in case new optimization algorithms are added.
- Include media library images in sitemaps – Help search engines index your images.
- PDF thumbnail compression – Shrink preview images for your PDF uploads.
WP Smush Pro runs at either $39 per year for a single site or is included in WPMU DEV membership plans which allow you to run it on unlimited WordPress sites for the same $39 per year. If you manage a network of sites, the savings can really add up compared to buying Pro separately for each one.
WP Smush Integrations
WP Smush works great all on its own but also plays nicely with other popular WordPress plugins and services:
- Page Builders – Fully compatible with Elementor, Beaver Builder, SiteOrigin, Brizy and more.
- Popular Themes – Works seamlessly with leading multipurpose themes like Astra, GeneratePress, OceanWP and many others.
- Performance Plugins – Integrates nicely with caching from WP Rocket, caching and anatomy tools from Hummingbird and LiteSpeed Cache modules.
- Image Editors – Improves compression for outputs from PixelCat, PhotoEngine and other popular optimizers.
- CDNs – Works perfectly with content delivery networks like KeyCDN, MaxCDN and StackPath.
- Cloud Hosts – Special one-click integration for streamlined use on major managed WordPress hosts like WP Engine, Kinsta and Flywheel.
You’ll also find dedicated support modules for using Smush with top ecommerce platforms such as WooCommerce and membership plugins like MemberPress.
As one of the most ubiquitous optimization plugins around, it aims for seamless cross-compatibility with all modern WordPress site tech.
Still have some questions about using WP Smush? Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:
Does WP Smush work with WooCommerce stores?
Yes! WP Smush has modules specifically for comprehensive WooCommerce support. It automatically smushes product images, gallery thumbnails, variation images and more.
What about Multisite networks?
Multisite is fully supported at no extra cost. The Pro version especially helps by allowing bulk smushing across the entire network from one dashboard.
Can I undo compression if I want to restore original images?
Absolutely. Every optimization is lossless and completely reversible in a couple clicks using the “Restore Image” option.
Will it slow down my site from having to optimize images?
Nope. Smush uses asynchronous optimization to process images in the background without impacting page load speeds.
What happens if I switch themes or deactivate the plugin?
The compressed images remain perfectly intact after deactivating or removing WP Smush. Once optimized, your images stay leaner with smaller file sizes forever. Reactivating the plugin will continue auto-optimizing new images uploaded after you disabled it. This persistence makes sure any past compression savings aren’t lost.
Can I exclude certain images from optimization?
Yes, the plugin allows selectively skipping compression on any images you choose. Just click the “Ignore” icon on any image details screen if you want to leave particular files untouched. Useful for preventing lossy compression on specific important graphics that need perfection.
Does it automatically convert images to next-gen WebP format?
WebP conversion is included but remains optional if you prefer standard JPEG/PNG formats. You can enable automated WebP generation with a single click in the bulk or individual compression panels. It adds lightweight WebP copies optimized for browsers that support them while serving the originals for broader compatibility.
What are the ideal image compression settings?
The plugin’s “Optimized” mode makes an excellent quality/file size trade-off for most users without any adjustments needed. If you prefer ultra-high image quality regardless of large file sizes, try the “Lossless” mode. For maximum compression on less critical images at the cost of some quality loss, go up to “Ultra” mode. Otherwise defaults are preconfigured for a versatile balance between visual fidelity and speed.
WP Smush can easily shave multiple megabytes off your page sizes by optimizing images that tend to represent more than 60% of required downloads. Just a single typical HD photo can outweigh all your important text and code combined if left uncompressed! By streamlining graphics the smart way, sites load exponentially faster, rank better in searches and convert more visitors.
With free plans available delivering more than enough functionality for the vast majority of users, there’s virtually no reasonable excuse not to implement WP Smush today. It takes mere minutes to install yet saves you continuously multiplying storage and bandwidth charges forever. The numbers just speak for themselves – over 5 million active users smushing away billions of needless megabytes can’t all be wrong! Critical for every high performing WordPress site, WP Smush is an optimization game changer.